Students, parents attend virtual Back-to-School Night

Teachers communicate course information and online learning strategies to parents


Azadeh Reiskin

Screenshot of sophomore Azadeh Reiskin’s complete schedule, including all classes she will take during the year. Parents were able to access their student’s Learning Management System to view timing and schedules for the event.

Nicole Klein and Tabitha Parent

WEB EXCLUSIVE Parents participated in Back-to-School Night programming hosted by teachers and administrators via Zoom webinars and live video streaming on Wednesday night. 

“My online experience has been pretty good,” sophomore Sydney Mountain said, “but it gets really boring after an hour and I get tired after being on Zoom all day. I hope my parents and teachers recognize this and adjust accordingly.” 

Parents had the opportunity to meet with all of their children’s teachers for this year, however, since most students are taking only two classes during the first session, much of the information provided by teachers has yet to apply to their child. 

“Like last year, parents will be able to access the schedule for that evening by logging into the academic portal and accessing each individual student’s schedule,” said Registrar Betsy Pfeiffer. “The goal remains the same from previous years and nothing has shifted due to the delivery of the evening.”

Parents had the option to attend pre-programming on topics like athletics and Year 2 of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Additionally, parents of freshman and sophomores, as well as parents of students entering into Year 1 of the IB Diploma Programme were able to attend post-programming on those topics. 

“Every single teacher did comment that this school year is unique, and I appreciate the school’s willingness to take feedback and incorporate what’s best for our kids,” Melissa Mountain, Sydney Mountain’s mother, said. “I wished that more parents asked how anti-racism teachings be incorporated into the school curriculum because it’s such an important discussion to be having right now.”

Teachers also addressed parents’ concerns such as how to keep students engaged during the 10-minute Zoom blocks designed to deliver course-specific information. 

“A lot of parents asked how much homework I’ve been giving and how to keep students engaged in the longer classes,” chemistry teacher Jessica Yates said. “We are still doing virtual labs, and we’re looking into providing materials for hands-on labs to be safely conducted at home.”

Some students attended the Back-to-School Night programming alongside their parents, hoping to gain additional information about their courses and future socially distant learning formats. 

“I didn’t get to go last year because it was in person, so it was really nice to hear everything directly from my teachers rather than after the fact,” sophomore Azadeh Reiskin said. “I’m a bit worried about adjusting to in-person school again and just safety in general, but I took one of the summer courses in-person and that went really well.” 

Parents experienced a shortened version of what their children have been participating for the past three weeks during Back-to-School Night, gaining insight into the functionality of Zoom as a learning platform. 

“After talking with my mom, this year’s Back-to-School Night was really well organized and the teachers were supportive throughout our collective Zoom fatigue,” Sydney Mountain said. “My mom had an easy time accessing the links and thinks it ran smoother than it did last year.”